Social and emotional learning are being touted by advocates for this type of teaching. This month, Congress approved the Every Student Achieves Act, incorporating language advocated for by Senator Richard Blumenthal in honor of 6-year old Jesse Lewis who was killed at Sandy Hook School.
Scarlet Lewis showed Blumenthal a message Jesse wrote on a chalkboard at their house days before he was killed. The message said "nurturing healing love", something that Lewis says is in every definition of compassion across every culture. She says this bill emphasizes safe school climates and promotes strategies that have been proven effective by research to improve academic success.
West Conn Professor Dr. Chris Kukk is also the Director of the Compassion, Creativity an Innovation Center. He says neuroscience has shown over the last several decades how rationality, logic and learning are based on emotion.
The legislation allows funds to be used to help all students develop the essential skills for learning readiness and academic success—with training to help children learn how to recognize and manage emotions--among other goals.
Kukk notes that not every child learns his or her best in a sterile environment and needs more nurturing than others. Kukk says the training would also be in achieving positive goals, demonstrating caring and concern for others, maintaining positive relationships, making responsible decisions and handling interpersonal situations effectively.